Customer Service and Unpronounceable Names

I went to Safeway the other day and bought my weekly set of groceries. As I stood in line, I heard the cashier say the following to the customer in front of me: “Thank you Ms./Mr. (last name on the receipt). Have a good day” As common courtesy, Safeway employees are usually required to say this to every customer they ring up. As I move to the front of the line, my items are scanned and packed into plastic bags.

“Would you like help out?”

“No, thanks.” I say.

At this point, they usually grab the receipt to look at your last name so they can say, “Thank you Ms./Mr. (last name on the receipt). Have a good day” Usually, I see a look of confusion and fear as they stare at my last name. Then they say one of the following things:

  • “Well have a nice day [awkward pause where they were supposed to say my last name]…Bye.”
  • Thanks, Mascara.

  • Thanks Maccarado.

  • Thanks Mascarad.

  • Or my personal favorite,the “thanksMs.madskjafsjioefaj”, where the employee mumbles that whole line, hoping I won’t notice that s/he is too nervous to try to attempt my last name.

Those are the usual situations. However, the other day, I had the pleasure of finding a cashier that understood the real meaning of customer service.

“Thank you Ms….Massacardo?”

“Mascardo.” I corrected.

“Mascardo.” he repeated. “Thanks Ms. Mascardo.”

This was probably the only time I have ever heard anyone put some effort into saying my last name.

See, I don’t care if an employee pronounces my last name wrong. That happens all the time, and it’s an understandable thing that happens. What every employee should realize is that it’s not just saying my last name that brings value to Safeway; a robot could do that. But it’s the effort they put into learning my last name and learning to say my name correctly that makes it personal.


Vark = my new Google

I recently stumbled upon a site that has changed my way of searching the web: is a site where you can ask a question, and someone else will answer it (hopefully).

Sounds simple enough, and no, it isn’t really unique, but because there are a lot of people who use, there are a lot of people who can potentially answer your question. Also, the user interface is really simple and user-friendly compared to a lot of other sites that are of the “you-ask-someone-answers” type. I use Vark whenever I have a really specific question that I know will take forever to figure out if I search google or bing, I ask it on

My first question was:

“I’m new to Aardvark, and this is my first question: How do you like aardvark so far, and do you think you’ll use it more than or”
The answer I received from a woman named Laila basically sums up why I like Vark so much and some of the downsides of using Vark:

The downside:

  • As mentioned above, sometimes, you are not able to get prompt answers. As you saw above, it took 5 minutes to get the first answer, and an hour before the second answer came in.
  • If you don’t like that google is acquiring way too many companies, then you won’t like that Google has acquired
  • Also, sometimes you get answers like this:

I think John P. is a blah blah blah blah.

Thanks for answering my question when you didn't have an answer.

"Hahaha" is probably not a good way to start when you're answering someone's question.

Thanks, Goo. That was SO rude.

To Women Who Wear Black Leggins as Pants

image from You’re Not Special Because  (and she wrote a blog entry on black leggings as well. A lot more descriptive than I could ever be at describing the look.)

First of all, I am NOT talking about girls who wear black tights and have a shirt that is long enough to cover their rear ends and their frontal region. That seems okay with me (notice the lack of hearty agreement).

I am talking to the girl who wears black tights in REPLACEMENT of pants: I have very disturbing news for you.

Jabornix_5 explains:

If you want to see more on this creepy reddit conversation, click on the "explains" link.

Now you know the creepers come out to play when you wear black leggings as pants. Hope that was some food for thought for all of you women that do this.

I have also witnessed a girl wearing black-leggings-as-pants trip. And what do you know, I got to see all of her back-end through the thin fabric. It was not sexy.

If you don’t believe that guys think of girls who wear leggings as pants in this way, please google “girls in yoga pants”. I will not link it here since I don’t want to give the site more traffic via my site (it is almost soft porn. Ew).

Black Leggings = Trendy, but Not Equal to Good Fashion

I understand that what is trendy in fashion changes a lot, but I don’t think this “black leggings as pants” thing is cute at all. I know that most women wear them because they’re easy to put on, slimming, comfortable and it can easily match with almost any top you have on. But I do know that when something is trendy, it becomes thoughtless. “Thoughtless” because everyone does it just to fit in with the trend. No, I am not a someone who dresses really well, or someone who knows fashion very well, but “thoughtless” isn’t exactly what I think of when I think of good fashion.

What do you think?

Blog Header

I totally forgot to introduce my new blog header! It’s Roy Lichtenstein’s “girl with hair ribbon”. Although the title has the originality of a newly named method in accounting (+5 accounting nerd points), I think this was a perfect picture for my blog. There’s nothing more geeky than comic books, and Lichtenstein’s pop art paintings set the standard for comic book art.

Here are some of the other Lichtenstein paintings that thought would work as a blog header:


This picture is also known by the title "Wahh wahh wahh!!!"

As much as I like the art, I really didn’t the gloomy atmosphere it creates. “It’s hopeless!” she thinks, as her tears began to fall from her eyes. Sorry, Hopeless, you are out of luck.  You are too gloomy.  “Gloomy” is not the kind of atmosphere I want to evoke to my readers. I was thinking more along the lines of “Insane Clown Posse”, black nail polish, and black eyeliner. (Lots of black eyeliner.)

“Modern Room”

Mao, Mao, Mao. You can never get enough of him.

Lichtenstein’s Room series is my favorite art series. What I love the about the paintings is the simplicity of the objects and colors, and the use of patterns as a texture. Plus, it makes me want a creepy picture of Mao in my room.

“In the Car”

"I don’t give a crap if you run anyone over. Just get me there, because I freakin’ deserve it."

I’m trying to figure out other sophisticated reasons I could give to you, dear reader, on why I picked this painting other than the actual reason I picked it: it reminds me of the scandalous Mrs. Robinson, a character in my favorite movie, The Graduate.  The leopard skin coat and the way she holds herself screams, “I don’t give a crap if you run anyone over. Just get me there, because I freakin’ deserve it.” And that’s the only reason I like this picture. The end. You can leave now.

Awesome Applications: After the Deadline

After the Deadline > Microsoft Word’s grammar checking tool.

It has taken me a long time (years) to find a grammar checking tool as advanced and as accurate as After the Deadline. As you all probably know, my grammar isn’t the goodest.

As a side story, I’ve put off the launch of my blog (launched in ’09) in grave fear that I would not be able to recover if my blog writing were to be attacked by a Grammar Nazi. Because it’s such a great tool, After the Deadline has helped me cope with that fear, for the most part.

One really helpful thing about After the Deadline is that it really helps me to recognize and fix the passive voice within my writing as it gives explanations whenever it finds a grammar error.

Here is a quick demo (please note that it is not limited to checking grammar on wordpress.):  

The downside: It doesn’t work in Microsoft Word. But it does work on Facebook, WordPress, Twitter, and pretty much all popular websites where you can write text. (I guess the only way you can get your grammar checked in Microsoft Word is by copying the text from your word document and pasting it into a website text box.)

And, like all grammar tools, it is never 100% accurate at all times. But overall, it has helped me to improve my grammar! Which I think makes it a great grammar tool. Thanks, After the Deadline. You helps me writes gooder. =)

After the Deadline is FREE. And you can download it here.